By Elizabeth Landau
(CNN) — The purse was by designer Baby Phat, and it was only $5. But when Elizabeth Deiter bought it at the thrift store where she works, she immediately had to run over to the bank and deposit money to avoid running a negative balance.
She and her husband only recently caught up on their rent, after four or five months, and Deiter has close to 100 purses already, but she still went for the bargain. In thinking about this and other splurges on things she didn’t need, Deiter has begun to consider herself a compulsive shopper.
“I am ashamed of it,” says Deiter, 22, of Reading, Pennsylvania. “I’ve screwed up a lot. I know I should stop.”
With holiday season discounts running rampant online and in stores, it’s especially easy to fall into the trap of overspending this month, especially if you have a problem with impulse control at the mall. But beyond carelessness with finances, compulsive shopping is a mental disorder that psychologists recognize, although it has not been studied extensively.